The use of a Software as a Service (SaaS) first model can take advantage of the inherent efficiencies of SaaS providing staff with the time and resources to foster innovation.
The Current Decline of Innovation in Government
The Partnership for Public Service recently reported that government workers are reporting a year over year decline in innovation. This decline is causing the government to be labeled as lagging behind in the adoption and implementation of new IT projects. The Lieutenant Governor of California’s recent article outlined that the government is missing out when it comes to technology innovation.
The view of Information Technology by some as a cost center rather than an integral group that helps generate revenue may be compounding the steep decline in innovation. As governments continue to look to cut spending , Information Technology is often included in these plans as a way to cut spending rather than as a tool to gain efficiencies.
Fostering Innovation Through Staff
One way to turn the innovation trend upwards is by moving internal IT groups away from activities like maintaining or operating IT infrastructure. These tasks, while necessary, are not providing the value to the organization that IT is capable of showing. By focusing on the architecture, design and build of new solutions, IT can leverage their own innovations to drive the success of government agencies.
The costs of maintaining IT infrastructure is more than many organizations are aware. As Jay Keyes discussed in his blog, Building a Cost Model for Server Infrastructure, staffing accounts for 48% of the cost of a server. The reorganization of staff away from maintenance is not meant as a way to reduce staff but as means to refocus those employees on delivering faster, more efficient, and more cost effective solutions that IT can use to empower state, local and federal government departments increasing their value.
As a means to facilitating staffing optimizations, eliminating or reducing the number of applications and systems that IT must maintain is critical. This can be accomplished through the outsourcing of maintenance activities or the migration of applications to the cloud.
Using SaaS to Optimize Software Costs
Software as a Service (SaaS) is the optimal solution when available because of its ability to provide cloud optimized solutions that move the burden of maintenance, support and upgrades from internal staff to the software vendor. A few of the benefits of SaaS include:
- Time – Access with a browser means the time to deploy or install software on client computers is gone. Staff no longer have to spend time installing, maintaining, or upgrading software on servers or workstations.
- Scalability – Often built on a multi-tenant framework, SaaS solutions can easy handle the natural expansion and contraction of organizations.
- Ease of Use – The use of a browser reduces the training time for new staff. Staff are able to access resources right away without lengthy training courses required for some on-premise software.
- Upgrades and Features – Traditional on-premise software requires software to be routinely updated and validated for compatibility to utilize new features. By offloading software to a SaaS solution, the vendor handles all software upgrades and is able to provide timely upgrades that all users have access to simultaneously to eliminate incompatibilities between versions that are often seen when rolling out new software to users.
- Cost – All of the above benefits mean a lower acquisition cost, lower maintenance costs, and improved productivity for staff leading to a lower TCO.
SaaS in the Public Sector Market
The use of Software as a Service (SaaS) in the public sector, while still lagging behind the commercial space, has begun to gain momentum. San Francisco recently started their SaaS e-mail migration to Office 365. The city’s e-mail migration, including over 29,000 mailboxes will help them reach efficiencies while meeting government compliance initiatives.
Traditional on-premise software vendors have noticed the benefits as well. Understanding the unique nature of many government agencies, new public sector specific SaaS products are being released. BMC has built an IT Service Management (ITSM) solution optimized for the public sector. Remedy OnDemand for Public Sector is available now as a SaaS solution.
NTT DATA can help government agencies change the downward innovation trend by using SaaS solutions. Our trained Cloud Services and Public Sector staff can assist by analyzing cloud readiness, identifying the right sized IaaS, PaaS or SaaS solution and then working together to plan a seamless migration.
- Nathan Aeder
Senior Manager, Cloud Advisory Services – Senior Cloud Strategist